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LeBron scores 30 points, Davis handles Wembanyama’s 5×5 effort in Lakers’ 123-118 win over Spurs

By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James had 30 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame Victor Wembanyama’s historic “5×5” statistical performance for their seventh victory in nine games, 123-118 over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.

Wembanyama had 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in his first road game against the Lakers. The French rookie sensation added five blocked shots and five steals, making him the youngest player in NBA history and the 15th overall to achieve the rare 5×5 — at least five points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals in one game.

“He doesn’t have a ceiling,” James said of Wembanyama. “He can do whatever he wants to do in his career. It seems like he enjoys the game. It seems like he puts the work in, just from the outside looking in. … I said a long time ago how special he was, and it’s really that simple.”

Wembanyama fell one one assist shy of a 5×5 game in Sacramento on Thursday night, only to hit the mark one night later in Los Angeles in just 30 minutes, 55 seconds of play — the smallest amount of playing time in a 5×5 performance in league history.

Wembanyama also joined Michael Jordan as the only players to get at least five steals and five blocks in consecutive games.

“I wonder if (Jordan) did it in wins, not losses,” Wembanyama said. “To me, it’s secondary. Hopefully in the future we can look back and see this as a good performance, but as of today, I can’t be satisfied in a loss.”

Wembanyama scored 16 points in a dominant first quarter, but Anthony Davis answered his fellow No. 1 overall pick’s challenge with impressive play in the next two quarters while the Lakers maintained their lead.

Davis racked up 28 points and 13 rebounds before sitting out the entire fourth quarter of the second game in a back-to-back set. Jaxson Hayes performed capably in his place against Wembanyama while James led the Lakers to their 12th win in 18 games.

“(James) powered through some good stretches and some tough stretches, but all in all, when we needed him to make plays, make shots, he stepped up and he did that,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “Coming out of the All-Star break, everything is a little topsy-turvy. Guys are still trying to get back in rhythm to where we were beforehand, but I thought (James) was good.”

San Antonio finished on a 17-5 run in the final 3 1/2 minutes to trim the final margin considerably.

D’Angelo Russell had 22 points and six assists on his 28th birthday, while Rui Hachimura added 17 points for the Lakers, who haven’t been able to move higher ninth place in the Western Conference standings despite their surge in recent weeks. Los Angeles returned from the All-Star break with a loss to Golden State on Thursday.

James came back strong after missing the Lakers’ last two games to rest his sore ankle, although he played in the All-Star Game in between.

“I can’t tell you how we’re going to be each and every single day,” James said. “We just put the work in and live with the results. We approach the game the right way defensively. Offensively, we continue to share the ball. … If we defend, we get back in transition and we clean glass when teams miss, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win every night.”

Wembanyama embraced his first opportunity to play underneath the Lakers’ wall of championship banners by getting off to a brilliant start, racking up 13 points and three rebounds while drawing two fouls from Davis in the game’s first six minutes alone. He was up to 20 points by halftime, but was just 2 for 6 after halftime.

Malaki Branham scored 17 points and Jeremy Sochan had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Spurs, who have lost three straight and 10 of 11. They’re 1-6 on their nine-game annual Rodeo Road Trip.

San Antonio snapped its franchise-record losing streak at 18 games in these teams’ last meeting in December.

UP NEXT

Spurs: At Utah on Sunday.

Lakers: At Phoenix on Sunday.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA

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